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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-07-19 03:13
Ubik by Philip K Dick (audiobook)
Ubik - Philip K. Dick,Luke Daniels

Narrator: Luke Daniels

 

Mild spoilers.

 

This book was mad. This is an alternate futuristic vision of 1992 where psychics of various kinds are counteracted by people with counter-talents. The main character, Joe Chip, goes off on a contract with various others from the firm he works for. When disaster strikes (as it is wont to do), they return to Earth to find it strangely changed and weird messages from their boss appearing in the oddest places(e.g. graffiti on a wall, inside cigarette packages). It quickly devolves into each of the survivors being hunted down by a strange illness or force. It’s kind of hard to explain without going into a whole lot of spoilers, but I can probably get away with saying that technology and objects start turning into older versions of themselves and this throws everyone for a loop.

 

I think my favourite part was how in this version of 1992, doors refuse to open for you unless you tip them a nickel. Joe Chip spent some time arguing with his own door because he was broke.

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review 2017-06-05 17:07
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

I tried to write something resembling a coherent review, but I can´t come up with anything else besides the fact that I really enjoyed this book and the questions about humanity it poses. What makes us human? Empathy, compassion and love? And is artificial intelligence able to experience the same emotions as humans?

 

I really liked the significance that Dick puts on real life animals and how humanity is closely linked with these animals. And I really liked the concept behind the mood organ:

 

"My schedule for today lists a six-hour self-accusatory depression" Iran said

"What? Why did you schedule that?" It defeated the whole purpose of the mood organ. "I didn´t even know you could set it for that", he said gloomily.

 

Truth to be told I would choose a self-accusatory depression every once in a while myself. But I think it would be pretty great to choose when to have one of those.

 

I read this book for my jail visit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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text 2017-05-28 18:59
Reading progress update: I've read 193 out of 193 pages.
Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? - Philip K. Dick

After having finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep and The Master and Margarita in one day, I feel like I´m stuck in a David Lynch movie. My next read will definitely be a non-weird one (eventhough both books were great reads).

 

I´ve read this book for my jail visit which means 193 pages are going into the jail library.

 

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text 2017-05-25 01:11
UM. Why has no one brought up "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" as something I need to include in my project looking at disability in fiction?
Blade Runner - Philip K. Dick,Scott Brick

Judging fitness to be considered human based on range of emotional responses and empathy, among other factors (including intelligence and ability). Bio-chemical control of emotions and urges within proscribed settings. Etc.

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review 2017-05-09 18:40
Sculpting the future
How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection - David F. Dufty

Longtime readers of the blog will recall that I've had a certain fear fascination with robots and A.I or Artifical Intelligence. You can check out my posts about books like Our Final Invention which details the growth artifical intelligence into super intelligence or In Our Own Image which is a thought experiment about what the evolution of AI will look like in the future to get an idea of what I mean. Today's book is somewhere in the middle. How to Build an Android: The True Story of Philip K. Dick's Robotic Resurrection by David F. Dufty covers the creation of a robotic incarnation of the famous sci-fi author which (according to its creators) has the ability to learn as it communicates with humans i.e. it is self-aware. The novelty of this machine was that it was created in the image of a man who was known for his paranoia about 'thinking' machines and that it was an artistic as much as technological acheivement. This book chronicled the creation of the android from its inception including the sculpting of the head and body by Dr. David Hanson through to its programming by Andrew Olney. (Not to mention the many volunteers from the FedEx Institute of Technology in Memphis who logged many hours helping to make this dream a reality without any compensation.) The PKD android was a sensation among scientific circles as well as among laypeople because of his realistic facial features, expressions, and his seemingly intelligent responses to questions. However, I am not convinced that he would have passed the Turing Test which proves that he was a self-aware artificially intelligent machine. Moreover, I found this book was lacking in many areas. Each of the chapters seemed to end without any real resolution and the ending fell flat. Also, one of my pet peeves is a nonfiction book without any endnotes or at the very least a bibliography and this one committed that sin. Overall, I'd say that this book would appeal to someone who hasn't done any significant research into this field and wants to dip their toe into that world but for me it didn't make the grade. 5/10

 

If you want to see the PKD android in action then you can check out the Hanson Robotics website. Be forewarned, if the idea of a seemingly artificially intelligent machine with human-like characteristics freaks you out then you shouldn't go to that website. To see what I mean, take a look at the pictures below. *shudder*

 

Source: Ascend Surgical

 

Source: Philip K. Dick Android Project

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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